RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Wednesday morning in Rapid City, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office held a news release, kicking off their new IGNITE Program.
The IGNITE program, which stands for “Individual Growth Naturally and Intentionally Through Education,” will look to help people incarcerated get back on their feet when they get out.
“People are ready to invest in our inmate population, invest in our homeless population. To give them the tools that they need for a hand up to change the trajectory in their own lives,” Pennington County Sheriff Brian Mueller said.
Rapid City is taking inspiration from Sandusky County in Ohio, where Sheriff Chris Hilton recently had success with the program.
“We had some that were absolutely excited, like raring to go. Thought it was the greatest thing in the world. Then there were some others that sat back and were like, I’m going to see what this is all about. I will tell you within the first two months we’re getting a participation rate of about seventy-five to eighty percent of my inmates.” Sandusky County Sheriff Chris Hilton said.
One of the reasons the IGNITE Program can have success here in Rapid City, is the partnerships they build with the community.
“Here in Pennington County and Rapid City, we thrive and we excel in our partnerships. And that’s what you see at the table here today. We have partners from all aspects of this community willing to come together, put our differences aside, focus on the challenges and come up with the real solutions and I have no doubt at the end of the day IGNITE is going to offer some good solutions to our community.” Sheriff Mueller said
It offers GED classes, job certification and post-incarceration work opportunities — all things not traditionally offered in these facilities.
The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office looks to fill the IGNITE Coordinator position within the month.